Beachbody Review: Are The Beachbody Nutrition Programs Worth It?
I’ve had a ton of requests to write something about Beachbody. And while its taken me a lot of time to do this Beachbody review, here it is! I know, you’re so excited. You’re welcome.
Just to get this off my chest, naming a weight loss and fitness company ‘Beachbody’ just reeks of the idea that you’re not good enough for the beach unless you have a skinny ‘beach body.’ Maybe I’m overreacting, but I still cringe when I hear the words ‘beach’ and ‘body’ together. We entirely need to get over that ridiculous concept that a body isn’t ‘beach-ready’ unless it’s fit, toned, and a certain weight.
Beachbody is quite the empire. There’s Team Beachbody, Beachbody on Demand, multiple nutrition programs, supplements, Beachbody swag (just in case you feel the need for a shirt that says, ‘talk dirty carbs to me), and of course, all sorts of workout accessories.
Shakeology is the meal-replacement/snack part of several different Beachbody programs. I reviewed it last in 2015, and tasted it with Abbey Sharp on one of our videos a few years later. It tasted like death.
This time, instead of just re-reviewing Shakeology, I thought a better idea would be to review the entire Beachbody suite of nutrition offerings.
Let’s do this!
Ultimate Portion Fix.
The Ultimate Portion Fix is 30-day portion-control weight-loss plan with trainer and ‘health coach’ Autumn Calabrese that helps you “FIX YOUR PORTIONS. FIX YOUR LIFE” Or at least, that’s what it promises. I reviewed the 21 Day Fix a while back, but The Ultimate Portion Fix is different in that it isn’t just for 21 days, and it also doesn’t make exercise mandatory.
After the UPF, you can do the Monthly Fix, which continue$ the party on a monthly basi$.
Of course you get your ‘own personal coach’ with the program…which, well, you know how I feel about that.
The UPF has a cookbook and cooking show named FIXATE, which to be honest, is a horrible name that reminds me of food fixation, aka the result of food deprivation. Maybe I’m being oversensitive here, but Beachbody doesn’t have a way with names.
UPF assumes that portions are your problem, and that stuffing your food into little portion-controlled containers can help you out with that. You’re assigned a calorie bracket according to how much weight you want to lose, and with that calorie bracket, you get a predetermined number of each color of container per day. Once you’re out of containers, you’re out of food.
A couple of times a week, you can use your carb container for a ‘treat’ like a sweet or a glass of wine.
The Ultimate Portion Fix is a diet. Anytime you’re weighing, measuring, and recording intake, it’s a diet. When a plan has ‘free’ foods, a calorie level, and the potential for failure by going ‘over’ your allowance of food, it’s a diet.
When you see a program that promises a ’30 day fix’ where you’re going to ‘eat clean’ and ‘fix your life,’ it’s a red flag. You know what else is a red flag? A trainer like Autumn, who has no formal nutrition training, making and selling a diet program. 100% red flag.
You all know that I’m not a fan of diets, but let’s face it: the primary focus of Beachbody’s nutrition programs is weight loss. And with that focus comes diets. For a company with the name Beachbody, it’s practically unavoidable. And despite how I personally and professionally feel about them, there will always be people ready to buy into another diet. So why would Beachbody stop selling them? They’re moneymakers.
Listen, if you want to measure everything you eat in little cups in order to cut calories, go right ahead. Some people might like the structure of Monthly Fix, but my question is this: can you measure in your little cups forever? What is that teaching you about your hunger cues, food choices, and listening to your body?
Not much, it turns out. But Beachbody has another program that does more of that.
The 2B Mindset program is a Beachbody weight loss program led by Ilana Muhlstein, an RD who lost 100lb after struggling with her weight and relationship to food.
The program uses a plate instead of containers to measure portions, but unlike the Portion Fix, it’s not focused on calories, counting anything, or strict measurement. There are no portions or even servings that you need to achieve every day.
Instead, it uses a plate model to guide followers – 50% of your plate should be vegetables, 25% protein, etc. And 16oz of water before you eat anything, in order to fill your stomach up. Tracking food using the Beachbody Tracking your food is essential for losing weight, according to Ilana.
Shakeology is encouraged as an easy protein choice for 2B Mindset, but not as a meal replacer. Fair enough.
2BM is monthly, and doesn’t promise a quick ‘fix’ of any nature. Instead, it works on ‘shifting your mindset’ around food and eating, learning to manage emotional triggers, and understanding your food choices.
But don’t be fooled – 2B Mindset is a diet dressed up in a mindful, feelings-based nutrition plan. It’s still heavily focused on weight-loss. It’s still about tracking, and progress is still measured in pounds. I’m not sure about how evidence-based it is, either.
As I always say, not everyone is going to do well without a structured plan. Although I don’t like the ‘diet mode’ talk and tracking being pushed on every single person as a requirement, 2B Mindset seems like the best of what Beachbody has to offer.
That being said, Beachbody is like both sides of a coin. On one side, they claim to be ‘holistic’ and all concerned with your mindset as you lose weight.
On the other side, they’re selling diets, as well as bullshit detoxes and cleanses to ‘restore your body to its optimal “factory settings,” so you can feel and look healthier than before.”
Beachbody Ultimate Reset.
First up in the cleanse category is the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. It even comes with a caddy to carry your supplements around, and a bracelet “to remind you of your dedication to resetting your body and your life.” What in the world do they even mean by that?
Let me just say this (for the millionth time): YOU DON’T RESET YOUR BODY OR YOUR LIFE WITH A CLEANSE.
Ultimate Reset is a ’no starvation’ cleanse using a 21-day kit comprised of Shakeology (you can also buy the cleanse without the shakes), plus six supplements that are pretty much the usual suspects:
A probiotic containing only one type of bacteria, 2 caps three times a day
A greens powder. Eh, big deal.
Digestive enzymes that your body makes anyhow, six caplets a day
Pink Himalayan salt that you take four times a day to ‘mineralize’ your body, even though all of us eat enough sodium and there’s nothing special about pink salt AT ALL
A ‘detox’ blend containing milk thistle and other unproven ‘liver detox’ ingredients, taken three times a day
An aloe vera capsule – 2 caps taken before the evening meal (so you don’t shit your pants during the day, aloe vera is a laxative, FYI).
The first week eliminates meat and dairy, because they ‘stress the digestive system,’ except no, they actually don’t.
The second week is a vegan plan.
The third week is mostly fruits and vegetables.
What’s that line about this being a ‘no starvation’ cleanse? Please. It’s starvation.
The entire package is $250 USD + shipping.
There is no science at all behind this shitty cleanse. Weight loss from it is from a combination of water loss and an ultra low-calorie diet. When you start eating your normal diet, any weight you’ve lost with this cleanse will come right back.
Cutting out foods for no good reason, and taking literally handfuls of mostly useless supplements (I’ll give a pass to the greens and a half-pass to the probiotic) to ‘reset your body’ is not okay. And, making you believe that you need this cleanse not only to be healthy, but also to do great things for your entire life, is a sneaky money-grab by Beachbody, plain and simple.
3 Day Refresh.
The 3 Day Refresh is a “3-day program of specially formulated shakes, easy-to-prepare clean meals, and healthy snacks specially designed to help you break the cycle of bad eating habits, lose a few pounds, support healthy digestion, and dramatically improve the way you feel—without giving up food!”
‘Bad’ eating habits. ‘Clean’ meals. What sort of shitty messaging about food and eating are they selling here at Beachbody? Guilt, shame, and pseudoscience, all packed into one!
This ‘Refresh’ is essentially a 3-day fast that allows vegetables, a tiny bit of fruit, and the two Refresh supplements:
Fiber Sweep, 8 grams of pure fiber per packet *fart*
Refresh, a 200-calorie meal replacement *starve*
If Beachbody’s idea of ‘clean meals’ are these examples – pulled directly from the BB blog, then that is horrifying:
“Lunch (at least 1 hour after Fiber Sweep): Vanilla Fresh shake blended with 1¼ cup filtered water. Eat 12 strawberries, 5 asparagus spears roasted with 1 tsp. olive oil”
“Dinner (at least one hour after afternoon snack): Vanilla Fresh blended with 1¼ cup filtered water. Veggie Stir-Fry, and 1 cup organic store-bought vegetable broth (optional) with ¼ cup fresh herbs”
Don’t forget the FILTERED WATER!
I just can’t.
There is nothing at all – NOTHING – beneficial about this sort of ‘refresh’ or cleanse or whatever you want to call it. It is not supported by any sort of research or even by basic physiology. It’s totally useless, painful garbage that hurts, not helps, your relationship with food and your body. Think of it as holding your breath for three days: once you’re allowed to breathe, you’re gonna gasp for air…meaning, you’re going to want to inhale every piece of food in your path.
Save your $140 and buy a pair of shoes or something.
If you’re into diets – and I highly recommend that you shouldn’t be – Beachbody has something for you. That’s what they’re selling, even though they sometimes try to distract from that fact. Even if something is ‘holistic,’ even if it’s by an RD, even if it’s long-term, any program that measures success in pounds is. a. diet. Anything that forces you to track everything that you eat and drink is a potential nightmare for anyone with a predisposition for eating disorders or food obsession. And if you’re constantly trying to be ‘on plan,’ YOU ARE ON A DIET. This hurts, not helps, your relationship with food and your body.
Do you want to be either ‘on plan’ or ‘off plan’ for the rest of your life? It’s dizzying.
I’m sure the Beachbody workouts are great, but their nutrition programs, as well as their diet messaging and supplement upsells, are the same old MLM business.